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Puella Magi Madoka Magica

TV review by
Rachael Ward, Common Sense Media
Puella Magi Madoka Magica TV Poster Image
Outstanding anime is more violent than you'd expect.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 61 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The underlying message is that one should be grateful for what one has, and that a normal life is preferable to a magical one. Also, that suffering is part of life and that you must persevere and not let challenges get you down. Additional themes include compassion and integrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Madoka Kaname is kind, gentle, forgiving, and cares deeply about her friends and even her enemies. She has a very strong will and commits herself to what she believes is the right thing to do, even if it means that she might have to suffer in the process. Madoka is a big dreamer, but she is smart enough to realize when things get serious and is quick to act when other people are in danger. 


Lots of fighting, but it's normally concentrated against the Witches, though there are a few cases where magical girls fight each other. Weapons include muskets, swords, spears, bows, and a wide variety of guns and explosives. The Witches can be very gruesome and creepy -- stabbing, beating, shooting and even decapitating a few characters. 


The girls are often seen in their school-girl outfits (known for short skirts), which is common in Japanese anime. The opening song includes a brief shot of a naked Madoka, but her body is glowing so you can’t see anything.


A few instances of "s--t" and "crap" in both Japanese and the English dub.


There is merchandise available online, such as dolls, comics, and posters.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Madoka’s mother enjoys a drink occasionally.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Puella Magi Madoka Magica appears to be a cute animated show for little girls (similar to Sailor Moon), but it's full of dark moments and imagery that is more suited for teens and adults. Witch characters are very creepy, and there's lots of violence between girls and witches and sometimes between girls themselves, including beating, stabbing, and decapitation. Expect a bit of language, including "crap" and "s--t." There is a bit of adult drinking and some girls in short skirts.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynduns August 6, 2013

First, a quick warning to parents...

Do NOT be fooled by this show's outward appearance! Trust me, that look was meant to troll audiences into thinking it was a cute and innocent show when de... Continue reading
Adult Written byBoredAmbipom999 March 13, 2016

Beautifully written deconstruction of the magical girl genre

It's been forever since I came here, but I really want to review Puella Magi Madoka Magica since it's is one of my favorite animes. I was pleasantly s... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDarky'sReviews June 19, 2014

It Won't Let You Look At The Magical Girl Genre The Same Way Again

I definitely didn't expect to see this show getting reviewed by CSM, mainly because it's rather unknown outside the anime universe. As much as it migh... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byvioletflames November 13, 2012

Deconstruction of a classic anime genre

First off, I am surprised to see this on here haha! As a huge anime fan, I have sifted through many a harem show of a show that promises to be such a great, ne... Continue reading

What's the story?

In PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA, fourteen-year-old Madoka Kaname (voiced by Christine Marie Cabanos) is approached by a strange creature called Kyubey. He tells her that if she makes a contract with him, he will grant her a wish and give her magical powers. But in exchange for her powers, she must fight monsters known as Witches. As Madoka struggles to decide what to wish for, she discovers that the life of a Magical Girl is a tragic one, full of suffering and despair. Is anything she could wish for worth sacrificing her life?

Is it any good?

This truly special anime defies genre and takes a common idea for girls' anime -- giving teenage girls magical powers to save the world -- but gives it a darker twist. The result is a story more intent on making its audience think than simply providing entertainment.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica's animation style is full of fluid motion and attention to detail that makes it a uniquely pleasurable experience to watch. Every one of the main characters is well developed and its hard not to get attached to them as the story progresses. The plot is full of twists and turns that will keep viewers guessing and the overall messages -- including the idea that a normal life might be preferable to a supernatural one -- are powerful.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the tone of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. How do the creators establish a mood or tone for the series? What would make it a different kind of series? How would you change the series, if you could?

  • Talk about how the violence is presented. Does it improve the story? How would the story be different if it was less violent?

  • Talk about symbols in the series. Who do the witches represent? Are there other symbols you recognize?

  • How do the characters in Puella Magi Madoka Magica demonstrate compassion and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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